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Eclectic Inspirations
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Author:  Persimmon [ Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:00 am ]
Post subject:  Eclectic Inspirations

In doing a bit of writing of my own material lately I've been struck again by the eclectic mix of original D&D. A lot of people talk about the pulp influence on Gygax and friends, but there's really just so much in there. And I've come to realize that I have pretty broad tastes too. Sometimes I want a more high fantasy feel, other times I want that swords and sorcery vibe. But I also like Lovecraftian elements and wuxia and samurai on occasion. So my own world has gradually accrued all these elements over the past 25 years or so of its existence.

This is also probably why my favorite published setting is Mystara/Known World from the old BECMI modules and gazetteers. It seems to have evolved the same way, mashing everything together in a fun, eclectic mix. Where else can you have Native Americans battling the Ayatollah Khomeini, as in X10?

I was curious if others do the same or if your own home settings are more limited to certain styles/settings?

Author:  Treebore [ Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Eclectic Inspirations

I've used Mystara, Faerun, Scarred Lands, Aihrde, Greyhawk, Rokugan, my own, and probably a couple of others I am forgetting right now. I'd say my tastes closely mirror yours.

Author:  finarvyn [ Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eclectic Inspirations

I don't DM as much as I used to, but back in the day when I was making new campaigns every few months and then rebooting with another campaign a few months after that, I used to try to change things up each time to make each different from the others. One time I might use Moorcock's Elric as an inspiration, another time flying ships. Maybe Elric with flying ships. No real pattern.

In the really old days, when I tried to keep one single campaign world running "forever" (it lasted 3-4 years, I think) my inspiration was mostly a blend of Conan and Lankhmar and Tolkien. I wanted something mostly gritty, but occasionally fantastic. I wanted elves and evil sorcery.

I think that inspiration can come from a lot of places, however. The tough thing is when you are inspired by something that your players haven't read. When I ran a Lankhmar adventure for my wife and kids they didn't get it. They hadn't read the books and apparently I wasn't really able to convey the feel of the setting to them.

Author:  Aergraith [ Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eclectic Inspirations

I purposely made my campaign world large enough and isolated enough to accommodate different areas with totally different cultures, races, and even different "tone". I haven't explored those other areas much yet: almost everything takes place in an area inspired by John Jakes, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber, Gary's "Gord the Rogue" and Clark Ashton Smith. It's a desert area but not Arabian Nights. Kind of a Vancian Morocco.

I go back and forth on Mystara. Some of the Gazetteers are pretty gonzo (fantasy island?) and if your group moved from gazetteer to gazetteer the tone changes would be jarring. However , I've tried to stop being so serious about my little world, so I am more likely to incorporate that. All in all, I've always enjoyed my time in Mystara.

My main guideline is don't make the world the joke; the players will supply the humor (and to an extent, the NPCs). Even if it's a total madhouse, play it straight and let the players highlight the absurdity. There is such a thing as too stupid even in RPGs though, where everything is so surreal and unlikely someone doesn't want to play it anymore, but luckily the players will tip you off to that before you go too far.

Author:  Persimmon [ Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Eclectic Inspirations

finarvyn wrote:

I think that inspiration can come from a lot of places, however. The tough thing is when you are inspired by something that your players haven't read. When I ran a Lankhmar adventure for my wife and kids they didn't get it. They hadn't read the books and apparently I wasn't really able to convey the feel of the setting to them.


I get that. Happened when I once tried to get my ex-wife to play Call of Cthulhu when she had never read Lovecraft.

On the opposite pole, the new Adventures in Middle Earth game has gone too far with mechanics for everything to make it just like the books. I can't stand all those rules for journeys, audiences etc. I just want to game in Middle Earth sometimes, I don't need to reboot The Hobbit everytime I play. Any GM should be able to convey the Middle Earth flavor without all that crap. Not too fond of their lame character classes either, but that's a separate issue. So despite getting a bunch of the AiME books last year as gifts, I'm probably just going to get rid of them since I don't ever see myself playing that railroad of a game. Somif anyone wants, them, let me know!

Author:  Lurker [ Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Eclectic Inspirations

Persimmon wrote:
finarvyn wrote:

I think that inspiration can come from a lot of places, however. The tough thing is when you are inspired by something that your players haven't read. When I ran a Lankhmar adventure for my wife and kids they didn't get it. They hadn't read the books and apparently I wasn't really able to convey the feel of the setting to them.


I get that. Happened when I once tried to get my ex-wife to play Call of Cthulhu when she had never read Lovecraft.

On the opposite pole, the new Adventures in Middle Earth game has gone too far with mechanics for everything to make it just like the books. I can't stand all those rules for journeys, audiences etc. I just want to game in Middle Earth sometimes, I don't need to reboot The Hobbit everytime I play. Any GM should be able to convey the Middle Earth flavor without all that crap. Not too fond of their lame character classes either, but that's a separate issue. So despite getting a bunch of the AiME books last year as gifts, I'm probably just going to get rid of them since I don't ever see myself playing that railroad of a game. Somif anyone wants, them, let me know!


Rgr that on all points

When I talk to my girls about gaming based of book I've read years and years ago, that they have never heard of and wouldn't be ready to read for a few more years to come, They get a blank glassy look.

Same same on the ME game. I WANT to like it, but just can't. I can't say exactly why (and it may be that I've never seen it ran well and played well in person) but it just isn't a fit for me. I LOVE Tolkien Love the books love the setting, but the game ...

Author:  Aergraith [ Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Eclectic Inspirations

Regarding Middle Earth, I wonder if that Hero's Journey S&W re-spin by Barrel-Rider games would be more to my taste for that sort of game.

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